In recent years, scented candles have become popular. It's hard to go into any home and NOT find them burning. The "flavors" range anywhere from tropical rain forest, to home-made bread. It is as if the new American saying is "Mom, home and Apple Pie Candles."

Not long ago, I decided to join the rest of the world, and so I started looking for just the right smell to greet people when they came to visit. My sisters seemed partial to floral and fruit fragrances, but that wasn't quite the first impression I wanted my home to make.

Since the kitchen is the first area my back-door company enters, I thought it only fitting to add to the ambiance. In my childhood, this was where my grandmother turned out tables full of that great country cookin'. Now that I no longer have a big family to cook for, the oven doesn't get used much anymore. I decided that I wanted a ''food'' candle.

I purchased what they call a tart burner, with a tiny, tart-shaped, pumpkin-scented, wickless candles that smelled absolutely scrumptious as they melted. The Bible study group salivated as they came in one Wednesday night, thinking that I was serving fresh-baked pies... until they discovered, "it's only a candle!"

Over the Christmas holiday, I recently purchased a "granny candle" on one of my shopping trips.  It is the kind that fills a quart mason jar, and smells like "somethin' lovin' from the oven." This particular one smelled like chocolate nut brownie.

Of course, I had to buy one of those gas utility lighters, as it would be impossible to hold a match down inside a quart jar once the candle had burned down. I hurried home and couldn't wait until I got it lit.

I was quite pleased with the yummy smell that greeted me each time I entered the kitchen, and at how the wax burned evenly, rather than forming a crater around the wick and the high ridge build-up around the sides of the container (don'tcha just hate that?!).

I would light the candle when I'd come home and just breathe in that delicious aroma of homemade brownies and think of all the calories I was saving (it was like having your cake... and having your cake... and having your cake...).

One evening as I was about to light the candle once again, "blessing" that child (adult) proof safety trigger, I noticed that the upper third and rim of the jar was blackened from smoke. Grabbing a napkin, I began wiping out the smudge, while turning the jar around. In mid-turn, I noticed instructions pasted to the bottom of the jar. They listed the usual warnings: keep out of the reach of children, keep away from flammable objects, do not leave unattended, etc., and lastly, keep the wick trimmed.

There it was:  another one of those unexpected object lessons that God drops into our everyday lives. They are so subtle that if we weren't familiar with the scripture, we would miss them altogether. (Another reason to read the Bible!)

The last instruction struck a chord. I had read it before, but from a higher source than a candle maker... He was a church builder. He had formed and fashioned each stone by hand and breathed life into them. He also referred to them as bearers of Light. In a sense, I guess He was a candle maker too. His name is Jesus, as you've probably realized, and that "familiar chord" is found in Matthew 25:7, where the Christ is talking about His secret return for His Bride/Church, which we call the Rapture.

The Jewish wedding custom was obvious to His listeners. They knew that it was an orchestrated "kidnapping" of the bride by the groom and his friends, sometime within a year after the betrothal.

As we read the passage in Mathew 25:6, we see where Jesus is talking about being prepared for the groom's (HIS) coming. The bride and her attendants evidently would spend each night together at the bride's parents' home as the wedding drew near, much like an extended slumber party.
The attendants would go back to their various homes in the morning and return to the bride's house each evening, since the custom was for the groom to come in the middle of the night, to "steal" his bride.

In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus told them a parable of the ten virgins (attendants). Five were wise, but five were foolish. They needed to have their lamps ready, since there were no streetlights back then, and this small band would have to have lamplight to make their way through the dark stony streets, to the wedding.  The maidens were to keep oil in their lamps at all times, and their wicks trimmed!

The candle jar instructions said to keep the wick trimmed to 1/4 inch. I realized that that was why the upper portion of the jar had blackened; I had not kept the wick cut back.

As Christians, we are called to be the light to a darkened world (Matthew 5:14 ). If we don't keep our wicks cut back, we can't give off much light.  We must trim off the soot, or carbon (carnality) will build up from our wicks.

We have to present clean and godly lives before the world. Our character must not allow our sinful nature to dim our testimonies.  We certainly are not perfect creatures, as we define "perfect:" "without flaws," but our Father encourages us to STRIVE for perfection (Matthew 5:48). His definition of the word "perfect" is "complete or mature" (James 1:4, NIV). Our spirit-man within us is already perfect, because that is where God lives in us, and yes, that part of us is without flaw.

The Holy Spirit made His abode within us when we invited Him to come into our hearts, and our CORE is joined up with the almighty God Himself. We have His perfect DNA (Divine Nature Attributes), as it were.

The wick-trimming part comes in the soul-man area of our being. It is in the soul, which is our basic personality, that God said we have to STRIVE to be perfect, or "complete and mature."

The sin nature is present in every human being. We can spend a lifetime trying to allow the Spirit part of us to dominate that old carnal nature that gets us into so much trouble if it goes unchecked.

It takes time to allow Christ to form in our soul.  It may take years to overcome bad habits, to develop patience, and to begin to project the true Light of the Holy Spirit inside us. Our natural nature is an enemy of godliness. Our container can get sooty, and people may call us hypocrites! We have to trim the flesh nature back to a quarter of an inch, so that those around us can see Christ burn brightly from within.

God gave us His Holy Word to teach us how to walk in this life, how to trim our wicks so all men can see Him alive on this earth today. WE are His containers!

Jesus is coming for His Bride very soon. It is important that we are ready for His appearing. We must have oil in our lamps and keep our wicks trimmed. His signs are everywhere, so that we cannot possibly miss His return.


"...Even so, come Lord Jesus!"  (Revelation 22:20)

Have a happy and blessed New Year, dear friends!

Rev. C. L. Moser -- January, 2005